Senator Paula Carter


Senator Carter passed away on the morning of November 5th. A Special Election will be held February 5, 2002 to fill this position.

Memorials to the Christ Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 1341 North Kingshighway or to the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, 6000 W. Florissant, St. Louis, MO 63136 are suggested.

A Celebration of The Life of

Paula J. Carter

Senator Paula Carter

Paula Jean Davis was born in the city of St. Louis, Missouri on May 17, 1940. She was the second daughter of three children raised by Carl Jones and Gladys Mildred Jones.

Paula was baptized at St. Malachy Catholic Church and attended St. Malachy Catholic Elementary School. She received scholarship awards to St. Alphonsus Rock High School and Fontbonne College in St. Louis, Missouri.

On April 1, 1956, she was married to Willie Carter. Together they raised four children, Wardell John, Gregory James, Keena Marie and Willie Christopher.

In 1979, Paula rededicated her life to Christ and was baptized at Christ Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, where she remained a loyal member until her passing.

Paula's church was an essential part of her life and her activities reflected her love for the Church. At Christ Pilgrim Rest, she was a member of District Six, the Health Unit, served as the Chair of Women's Day Program in 1993, and was a member of the Trustee Board. She also lent her support and efforts to key fund raising events, assuring that many important projects at the church were completed successfully including the renovation of the Mitchell Fellowship Hall and the church's kitchen which was dedicated in memory of her stepfather, the late Deacon Carl Jones.

Her considerable knowledge and skills also brought her success in the business world, where she served as Chief Executive Officer of various family-owned businesses.

It was Paula's commitment to her community that influenced her political career, where she would impact the lives of many locally, nationally and internationally. She first got involved in politics in 1964. She helped James "Pal" Troupe run a successful campaign for Fifth Ward Committeeman. Following that campaign, Paula accepted a job at the Department of Revenue in its Licensing Department. Later, she joined the Circuit Clerk's office where she stayed for 18 years. While at the Circuit Clerk's Office, she served as a Chief of Staff to then Circuit Clerk Freeman Bosley, Jr.

Paula also served as a Precinct Captain for Senator J.B. "Jet" Banks in 1967. Senator Banks became her mentor and they developed a relationship that endured political agreements as well as disagreements. Their relationship was recently reestablished and was one that Paula said she would always cherish.

In 1984, Paula assumed the office of Committeewoman for the 27th Ward, an office she held until her passing. It was in the 27th Ward that Paula's love for her community and constituency was evident. During her term, she successfully worked with a host of neighborhood, political and activist organizations, as well as with the City of St. Louis. The 27th Ward's annual Wine and Roses Ball was among the many successes she engineered. What began as a small fund-raising dinner dance, evolved into an annual event that attracts more than one thousand people from all of Missouri as well as from other states.

In 1986 Paula expanded her constituency. She ran for and won the office of State Representative for the 56th District. To this office, she brought the same commitment and focus that she employed in previous endeavors and quickly became known as a legislator who could get the job done. During her tenure, she fought for better health and mental health services for African-Americans, other minorities and for all disadvantaged citizens in the State of Missouri. She also encouraged and supported African-American men and women to be appointed as state judges. She was immediately successful in paving the way for the appointment of Judge Jimmie Edwards and many others to the state judiciary.

Paula was also concerned about the state's youth. To that end, in 1993, she assumed the position of Chair of the Youth Leadership Conference, an organization of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Under her leadership, the Youth Conference flourished. In 1998, the Foundation created the Paula J. Carter Chairman's Award to recognize and acknowledge adults throughout the state who worked with youth.

The progress of women in politics was a continuing concern for Paula. In Jefferson City, she started a group known as "Room Full of Sistahs," created as a support group for women in government. Quarterly, Paula and Senator Mary Groves Bland of Kansas City would meet with a group of women for dinner and social conversation. The group still exists today. A member of that group was the Honorable Connie Johnson, who with the support of Paula, successfully ran for the seat of Representative for the 61st District.

She also continued her fight to secure the ability of minorities to successfully obtain contracts and business with the state through a fair and equitable bid process.

In March 2000, after six full terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, Paula was elected to the Missouri Senate as the first African-American woman to represent the Fifth Senatorial District from the City of St. Louis.

She served as a member of the Senate's Appropriations, Insurance and Housing, and the Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committees. She also served as Vice-Chairperson of the Missouri Democratic Party, and President of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. Additionally, she served as a member of the Women Legislators of Missouri and as a member of the Democratic National Committee.

In addition to her state associations, Paula was affiliated with many national organizations including the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Order of Eastern Star Harmony and Chapter P.H.A., Inc., Phoenix Chapter No. 81, Medinah Court No. 15 Daughters of Isis, and Oasis of St. Louis Desert of Missouri.

The Honorable Paula J. Carter leaves us with a legacy that is far larger than her resume. She brought to her life of public service a concern, commitment and drive that few can match. Her private life, too, reflects the same the warmth and caring of a woman who loved her family, her friends and her church family and was loved in return. We are not diminished by Paula Carter's death we are enriched by the fact that she lived.

Paula made her transition from this life on Monday, November 5, 2001. She leaves to mourn her passing; her mother, Gladys Mildred Jones; her father, Ross Davis; the love of her life and father of her children, Willie Carter; four children, Wardell (Stephanie), Gregory (Barbara), Keena and Willie, Jr. (Ronda); her mother-in-law, Ella Carter Moore; two sisters, Gladys Washington and Joella Vortriede (Bob); six grandchildren Gregory James, II, Willie Christopher, III, Jennifer Noel, Candace Rochelle, Paula Alexandria, and Chelsea Alexis; a special friend, Minnie Anderson; five aunts and one uncle and a large group of extended family members and friends.




Return to Senate Home Page